Race for Kitsap treasurer continues to narrow

Barbara Stephenson’s already slim lead over fellow Democratic contender Paulette Alvarado in the Kitsap County Treasurer’s race shrunk still further Friday.

The closeness of the contest could result in a mandatory recount of all the ballots after the primary election results are certified on Friday, Sept. 27.

Since there is no Republican contender, either Stephenson or Alvarado will be the successor to retiring Kitsap County Treasurer Sharon Shrader.

Shrader had endorsed Alvarado.

If the two candidates finish within a half a percentage point of one another, an electronic recount is required under state law.

If Stephenson and Alvarado finish within a quarter of a percent of one another, then a manual recount of the ballots is called for.

A canvassing board would decide when and where a manual recount, if required, would take place.

Late last week, Stephenson lead Alvarado by 275 votes, receiving 49.92 percent of the vote and Alvarado receiving 49.05 percent of the vote. That count was based mainly on early mail-in ballot returns and poll votes.

But after the elections division of the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office completed another stage of the process by counting about 15,000 more absentee ballots on Friday, Stephenson’s lead dropped to 54 votes over Alvarado.

Three more counts were to take place this week — one was yesterday, another will take place tomorrow and the last on Friday, the day the election is to be certified.

About 500 more ballots are to be counted, but that number could change depending on how many out-of-state or military absentee ballots trickle in with the correct postmark.

Adding another twist is the fact there are 634 challenged ballots where, for instance, a voter forgot to sign a mail-in ballot form.

Those have been returned to the voters and, if those ballots are signed and resubmitted by Thursday, they could be included in the final count.

As of Friday, Stephenson had 22,243 votes and Alvarado had received 22,189 votes. Exactly 1.08 percent of the vote went to write-ins.

To pull ahead of Stephenson, Alvarado would need to receive about 61 percent of the roughly 500 remaining votes that need to be counted.

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